Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Morrison’s Magical Reality: Disrupting the Politics of Memory Public Deposited

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  • Novelist Toni Morrison is well-known for using the concept she calls rememory, or the process of actively revisiting and reconstructing a cultural past. Many critics agree that Morrison uses rememory in a strategic way, so that it provides sturdy framework for a larger discussion of issues of race, class, and gender in her literary works. A less well-known literary strategy employed by Morrison is her use of magical realism in her writing. In the context of rememory, literary magical realism functions as a particular literary device that defines reality in terms of the fantastical, often paralleling a politic that defines history in terms of marginalized perspectives. In this thesis I argue that Morrison's strategies of rememory and magical realism serve the dual purpose of functioning aesthetically, as well as politically, to provide a larger context of cultural critique. Discussion is focused primarily on selected textual examples of rememory and magical realism from Song of Solomon (1977), Beloved (1987), and Jazz (1992). This thesis uses the methodology of feminist cultural and literary theory to discuss how the author effectively negotiates the politics of memory to ultimately empower her African-American female characters, as well as to provide a model for feminist activism.
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